February 2008 – AggBeat
This bill incorporates 11 of 12 annual appropriations and provides $40.2 billion in highway funding, which is $1.1 billion more than in 2007 and $631 million more than the president’s original request, according to NAPA. This funding level is the amount guaranteed by the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act — A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU).
The transportation segment of the bill includes more than 2,000 earmarks valued at $1.6 billion. However, this legislation does not address the shortfall in revenue that is anticipated in the Highway Trust Fund. This past summer, a $4.2 billion shortfall in revenues was projected as compared to highway funding guaranteed by SAFETEA-LU for 2009, according to NAPA. The next Highway Trust Fund revenues estimate was expected to be released this month.
Modest Growth Forecast for Equipment Sales in 2008
The construction equipment manufacturing industry expects overall U.S. and Canadian business to remain flat through the end of 2007 but rebound in 2008, while sales to worldwide markets should continue strong through 2007 and into the next year, according to the annual forecast of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM).
In the latest AEM outlook survey, overall construction equipment demands by year-end 2007 is predicted to decline 1.9 percent in the United States and remain flat in Canada at minus 0.1 percent, while worldwide business is anticipated to increase 9.9 percent.
In 2008, growth is expected in the United States, Canada, and worldwide,
with the biggest gains in global markets — an increase of 2.8 percent for the United States and 2.9 percent for Canada, and growth in worldwide markets of 8.0 percent.
For the full outlook report, including financial tables, go to AEM’s Web site, www.aem.org/News/AEMNews/Details.asp?P=546.
EPA Changes Discharge Rules, Affects Industry
In a final rule published recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) created a new National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) categorical exclusion that would allow EPA to reissue water permits under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) for new sources of pollution without first conducting an environmental analysis, according to a report from the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association.
This change in EPA policy applies to industrial discharges, including aggregates operations, in the five states (Alaska, Idaho, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New Mexico) where EPA issues NPDES permits, as opposed to state-issued permits under delegated authority by EPA, according to the report.
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